So, having decided to take the plunge into superhero miniatures gaming, you’ve been on to eBay and scored a crapload of Heroclix figures for a very reasonable price. However, now that you’ve received them, they don’t match your expectations of what superhero figures should look like and you’re now wondering whether you should have just bitten the bullet and bought some Reaper Chronoscope figures instead…
Now, I know that some of the sculpts aren’t the greatest, especially from the Marvel Infinity Challenge set, but sometimes the paint job hides a particularly nice sculpt, that just requires a little effort on your part to turn a crappy figure into something rather special.
So, the purpose of this post is to show you what can be achieved with some paint, brushes and a modicum of talent for painting tiny plastic men. I’m no Marike Reimar, so don’t expect works of art, but I feel that I’ve manged to improve on the original paint job. I’m also going to show how very simple conversions can change an iconic recognisable figure into something else.
Our first example is Doc Samson from the Marvel Xplosion Challenge set. This is one of the first figures I ever got and this is what the original figure looks like:
This is what the Daredevil movie would have looked like if they’d cast Jean Claude Van Damme…
Anyway, if we look past the red outfit and repaint and re-imagine this figure, we get this:
This is Aryan, the Third Reich’s attempt to create a super-soldier to match the United States’ Major Liberty. Unfortunately, whilst the experimental serum enhanced his existing physique, it also enhanced his existing paranoia, making him a powerful but potentially unstable force on the battlefield.
This figure would also make quite a good Doc Savage proxy, with a suitable paint job.
Our next example is the DC supervillain known as the Hyena, a foe of Firestorm (apparently), which comes from the DC Heroclix Legacy set. As with most early Heroclix figures, they didn’t really go to town on the paint job for this one, as you can see:
So, having looked past the universally brown paint job and researched what wolf fur actually looks like, after several different layers of dry-brushing, we get this:
I was really happy with how this came out, but have unfortunately been unable to replicate it since. Currently, this figure is a generic werewolf, rather than a specific character, but that may change…
Next, we have Lobster Johnson, a character from the Hellboy comic, who was released as part of the Indy Heroclix range. This is what he looks like out of the box:
Not too bad, but with a little bit of paint and re-imagining, we get this:
Doc Justice, hard-boiled, two-fisted scourge of the underworld, who delivers justice from the barrel of his gun! Okay, so my free-hand painting of the scales of justice isn’t the most “balanced”, but I’m happy with the way this one came out.
So, that’s repaints – let’s look at simple conversions. The easiest way to convert a Heroclix figure is to remove any extraneous parts, tidy up the figure and repaint it. My first example is Constrictor, from the Marvel Infinity Challenge set. Prior to me taking a craft knife to him, he looked like this:
However, after the removal of his coils and repainted in suitable colours, he becomes Blitz, the Third Reich’s human fighter plane. (Yes, I am aware that this is the second Nazi to appear in this gallery, but one of my factions/teams is made up entirely of super-powered Nazis, for Golden Age gaming).
Slightly more work was converting the Hydra Operative, also from the Marvel Infinity Challenge set. As I only had one of these, rather than a whole squad, I decided to re-purpose him, as “if you cut off one head…” didn’t really apply in this case…
So, as I quite liked the pose, but felt the weaponry didn’t really suit the figure, I trimmed off the assault rifle, tidied up the arm and gave him a Games Workshop flamer pistol, transforming him into Flashpoint, arsonist for hire.
Good thing he’s outside a fire station and there’s a handy hydrant to dampen his spirits…
Next we have the brussel sprout-headed version of the Leader, from the Marvel Xplosion set. As he has a pretty distinctive head, any conversion would require its removal…
So, one decapitation later and the addition of a Games Workshop plastic skeleton head, before they were known as ‘Skullz’, we have Halflife, a Russian scientist caught in a nuclear accident and changed into a crazed radioactive menace…
Our final example is how you can take an iconic character, in this case the villainous Scorpion,also from the Marvel Xplosion set, and alter him almost beyond recognition. This is what the figure originally looked like:
However, remove the tail, make some holes in his back with a soldering iron and insert a couple of plastic wings culled from the Marvel Heroclix Wasp figure, slap some paint on and voila! I give you the Hornet, a particularly venomous villain with which to bedevil my heroes.
So, as you can see, repainting or simple conversions can transform a mass-produced badly-painted figure into a unique character for your games.
I hope this has provided inspiration. Comments, as always, are appreciated.